Jim Kammeyer remembers a dove hunt with his dad years ago, when he was about 14. A small group on a father and son dove hunt had stopped along a pond to determine how to capture a dove someone had shot and dropped into the pond.
A breeze was steadily blowing the downed bird out to sea where it would soon be lost if not retrieved. Jim says his dad, Roger, strode up to a small willow tree growing near the water’s edge and with a couple of shots from his shotgun toppled the tree into the pond near the floating dove.
He grasped the tree and raked the dead bird to the bank, where it could be added to the harvest. The rest of the group was left thinking, "Why didn’t we think of that?" and the other kids turned to Jim and said, "Your dad is so cool."
Roger Kammeyer has always been known as a tinkerer and a problem solver. He grew up near and never left the small farming community of Concordia, Mo., where he had been a barber, then a sales rep for a food brokerage company and finally a life insurance salesman before retiring in 1999.
In his early days as a barber, Kammeyer could often be found building fishing rods or designing and building his own fishing lures between haircuts.
He is thought to have possibly invented the first "buzz-bait" top water lure used to catch bass, though he never pursued a patent. The spinner blade on that lure was fashioned from an old lunch box Kammeyer had found while scrounging for treasures at the dump.
Aptly named the Lunch Box, many feel the lure will still out-fish commercial buzz baits available today.
Years back I penned a column called "Man’s Best Friend" in which I extolled the virtues of the 5-gallon bucket. To this day I’m convinced that no better and adaptable product than the 5-gallon bucket has ever been invented.
Whether used as a seat for deer hunting, turkey hunting, ice fishing or picking vegetables from the garden, most garden projects and outdoor adventures somehow make use of man’s best friend, the 5-gallon bucket.
Sometime after his retirement, a friend gifted Kammeyer a wooden stool that sat on top of a 5-gallon bucket and made it a nice rig to sit on when picking green beans. The seat of the stool was raised just enough higher than the lip of the bucket, leaving a handy opening to toss beans into the bucket below.
The problem was it took two hands to carry the thing, one to carry the lid and the other to carry the bucket. Into Kammeyer’s shop it went, emerging later adapted so the stool fit upside down as a lid that snapped into the bucket, and the original Bucket Stool was born.
Now made from durable plastic, the bucket stool sits on the bucket in four notches that allow it to spin silently around the bucket.
With my 210-pound frame seated on one, it moved effortlessly and quietly around the top of the bucket, allowing me to face any direction I pleased. The Bucket Stool can then be turned upside down and snapped into the bucket to become a lid.
Roger got a patent on this invention and built them in his garage for over 10 years. Today the Kammeyer family’s business, RWK Solutions LLC, is located in Concordia, Mo., where the Kammeyers grew up and where they still live today.
The Bucket Stools are manufactured there in Missouri too, in the good ol’ USA. Check out the stools on their website, www.bucketsstool.com, and find them for sale on Amazon and at other retailers.
Kammeyer says that thanks to his Bucket Stool, he can still tinker in his shop, work in his garden and shorten the lives of many fish.
Continue to Explore Kansas Outdoors!
Steve can be contacted by email at email@example.com.